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Old 08-19-2008, 09:50 AM   #1
Enw
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Sentient Items

Having recently read the "Turin, and the living sword" thread, a question has come to me.

Did any of the objects not only live, but have a mind of their own? And which objects qualified as alive?
There are the elven swords, but what about the silmarils (I'm sure there's some reference somewhere), or Rings of Power (I know there was some debate about the One, but how about others?), or perhaps the Pukel-men (not the people, but the statues that came to life, as told in the UT). And I'm sure there are more.

What was just magical, what was actually alive, and what had a complete mind and will of its own, and even consciousness?
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:10 AM   #2
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There are also the Two Watchers that guard Cirith Ungol; they seem to be somewhat sentient. Through the evil spirits within them they can sense enemies and deny them access to the tower, by means of an invisible barrier created by their will. They don’t like the light of the Phial, and they can let out a cry to alert the orcs in the tower that an intruder has gotten in.

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Old 08-20-2008, 11:57 AM   #3
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There are also the Two Watchers that guard Cirith Ungol; they seem to be somewhat sentient. Through the evil spirits within them they can sense enemies and deny them access to the tower, by means of an invisible barrier created by their will. They dont like the light of the Phial, and they can let out a cry to alert the orcs in the tower that an intruder has gotten in.
But are they actually conscious and do they think and see things, or just work like machines that just respond to certain things?
And the thing is, everything in Mordor is under the will of Sauron, the only question is how completely and what leeway he allows (like orcs arguing, for example. They are not just war-robots or something, but actual living, breathing creatures).
And if they had their own sentiency (is that a word?), would that mean that they could, if they wanted to, allow an enemy to pass, or would they be under the dominion of Sauron? (and how complete would it be?)
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Old 08-20-2008, 06:29 PM   #4
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Wait. Is being sentient equal to having your own consciousness? I suppose so; how can you be aware of the things around you if you aren't conscious?

Are computers sentient? Or a thermometer at least. What I thought of the Ring before was like a thermometer--the mercury rises as a result of thermodynamic expansion. The Ring "awakened" when it "detected" Sauron stirring, and it responded to the Nazgul because that is its property, it could not do otherwise much in the same way Vitamin C is an acid forever and ever. The Ring "spoke" I think, because it was so very near its Master that Sauron could manipulate it. I don't think the Ring was separate from Sauron--he poured too much of his soul in that thing he made that once it is broken, he shall be broken too.

Orcs I think are a different matter. It's like brainwashing a people--you do get to control their ideologies and stuff, but they're still alive, and there can always be some very small hope of "redeeming" them. Morgoth created the first Orcs out of the Avari, right? Somewhere in the Sil it says something like he cannot make live things, he can only mar. Think of dogs and other pets... you may train it to sit and eat and stuff, but you don't really control it, do you?

The Silmarils, I think I've said it in my post here.

Nah I'm contradicting myself again.
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:30 AM   #5
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The Silmarils, I think I've said it in my post here.
But doesn't it say in the silm that they shine with a "living light" or something like that?
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:55 AM   #6
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ok, but living light is quite broad I think, the sun is many times referred to as living too ( although this is because there's a maia on the ship.. ), and they were filled with the light of the trees, the "ancestors"of the sun and moon.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:26 AM   #7
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But doesn't itt say in the silm that they shine with a "living light" or something like that?
I haven't had a chance to reread the Silm for this very purpose--my dad hasn't returned my copy--but five years worth of reading and rereading, I can only say that the Silmarils "rejoice in light" and "gave it back in hues more splendid than before"

Maybe you're right, the living light thing. After all they are filled with the radiance of the Two Trees, and the Two Trees we can all agree are alive. But do they have what we may call "soul"? Not exactly hroa and fea, but more like in animistic traditions.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:17 AM   #8
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But doesn't itt say in the silm that they shine with a "living light" or something like that?
It must have something to that affect. How else would it be able to discern who can hold it and who can't?
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